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Phishing returns with everything: attacks have increased sixfold in a year

Cyber ​​criminals are always there, lurking. And they are moving towards the sectors of the network “where there is more pique”. Now, the news is that they are taking up the old phishing trick to scam people over the Internet.

This deception is carried out by cloning a website or an app. In short, they send an email that pretends to be from a bank, for example. By clicking on any of the links that come in the email, a page identical to that of the bank will appear, where passwords or personal data, such as name and ID, will be requested. If these data are provided they will have control of the financial account.

This type of digital crime, which exploded about 20 years ago, is now making a comeback. According to data released by the cybersecurity company Kaspersky, phishing grew six-fold in Latin America from June 2022 to July of this year. In that period, the company recorded 286 million blocked phishing attempts, an increase of 617%.

In the ranking of the most affected countries, and taking into account the population of each nation, Argentina is very well positioned. The list is headed by Brazil, with 134 million attack attempts. They are followed by Mexico (43 million), Peru (31.5 million), Colombia (30.9 million), Ecuador (12.2 million), Chile (10.5 million) and Argentina (9.4 million).

According to expert analysis, the return of economic activities after the pandemic is the main cause of the explosion of fraudulent messages in the region. To this is added the emergence of tools that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and that enable the creation of content for scams in an automated way.

“Today, with an AI app, you do two clicks and you have it. The AI ​​puts together the email you ask for and then you can automate the sending of those emails, with which the cost to criminals is zero. And in addition, phishing campaigns are super effective”, explains Leandro Cuozzo, an analyst at the company.

The number of phishing attacks blocked in a year by a single cybersecurity company.

A fake message of this type has three components: logos or fonts that copy those of the entity they impersonate, the development of a problem that requires action by the victim (“your account will be blocked in 24 hours”) and the solution of the problem. problem (“click here and you won’t have that problem anymore”).

Considering the themes used in the messages, 4 out of 10 phishing attempts target financial data (42.8%). Banking issues (28.4%), means of payment (9.4%) and financial services, 2.70%, continue on the list.

Another type of attack that has skyrocketed in the last 12 months is banking trojans, with a growth of 50% compared to the same period of the previous year. Latin America registers 7,160 daily attacks, which represents an average of 5 infection attempts per minute.

Argentina recorded 29,000 attack attempts. Interestingly, the blocking graph in the region shows a trend opposite to the global scenario, which has experienced a decrease in this type of attack.

Reduce the amount of ransomware

They use AI tools to create the attacks.  Photo: ShutterstockThey use AI tools to create the attacks. Photo: Shutterstock

With respect to ransomware (software that restricts access to certain parts or files of an operating system and demands a ransom in exchange for returning access), Kaspersky’s analysis recorded 1.15 million attack attempts with this type of program in the last 12 months , which is equivalent to 2 blocks per minute.

The most relevant ransomware in recent days was the one that attacked the PAMI systems, which caused pharmacies to be out of service for several days and exposed the data of thousands of affiliates.

In statistics, WannaCry ransomware still appears among the highest detections (40.59%), even though this group has been inactive for a long time. In fact, the recorded detections belong to the vulnerability exploited by the ransomware in 2017 and which has not yet been patched on many computers.

Attacks via ransomware decreased by 27% in the period analyzed, but this criminal tool continues to be the most feared by companies.

What to do to raise your guard? Artificial intelligence must be used to be able to predict what is going to happen in the future, train company employees in the language of the people, and solutions must be tailored to each company, assembling a puzzle different from integrated cybersecurity tools, said Claudio Martinelli, General Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at Kaspersky.

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